The Library of Congress has been collecting publications from Montenegro for over 115 years and has amassed a collection particularly strong in the areas of history, literature, economics, law, and the political and cultural life of the Montenegrin people. The intent of this guide is to provide an overview of the collections from and about Montenegro in the Library of Congress to enable a researcher to assess if a visit to the Library will be necessary to undertake research. With descriptions of various genres of publications, as well as a bit of history on the development of the collections, the guide covers collection materials across most reading rooms and internal divisions of the Library, including our digital collections.
Montenegro and the Unites States agreed to exchange official publications in 1907 with the first shipment of publications from the United States sent to Cetinje in 1907 and the first publications from Montenegro reaching the Library of Congress in 1909. The earliest Montenegrin publications collected by the Library were scholarly and government titles arriving via the International Exchange Service managed by the Smithsonian Institution. The titles were law volumes such as Zakon o državnom budžetu [Law on the state budget] and Zakon o uređenju državnog savjeta [Law on the Organization of the State Council]. Other titles include Stenografske bilješke o radu Crnogorske narodne skupštine [Stenographic proceedings on the work of the Montenegrin National Assembly] for 1906-1908 and the first Montenegrin philosophy textbook Istorija filosofije by Lazar Popović. In the correspondence about establishing the exchange between the two countries, the Montenegrins warned that they did not have many official publications to send, but that they would send as many as possible. That turned out to be true, for very little was received before Montenegro became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. Overall the Library was not particularly active in its collecting of South Slavic publications in the 19th and early 20th centuries, relying instead on international exchanges for materials from Montenegro and the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Before World War II, publications exchanges and transfers of materials from other federal libraries were the most important methods of acquisition of Montenegrin materials, with few purchases or gifts. Large-scale exchanges and purchases began only in the late 1940s and provided not only a majority of the Montenegrin publishing output of titles of research value, but also enabled large retrospective acquisitions of materials dating back even into the nineteenth century. The Library's acquisition of materials from South Slavic countries was accelerated in 1967 with the introduction of the Public Law 480 Program, which enabled the Library to use Yugoslav domestic currency to set up an office in Belgrade and systematically to purchase all new titles from all parts of Yugoslavia and to subscribe to the most important journals and newspapers. The Library's Belgrade office operated for five years, and offered a unique opportunity for acquiring scholarly titles with low print runs.
The Montenegrin books in the Library of Congress collection are mostly from the post-World War II era, with 12% of the book holdings from the Yugoslav era of 1946-1990 and over 87% published since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991. Strong, comprehensive collecting of scholarly and current events materials begun during the communist era continues to this day with the Library maintaining both exchanges and an approval plan for Montenegrin publications and acquiring approximately 700 pieces (both books and periodical issues) per annum. The collection has grown to over 3,500 book titles and almost 100 serial titles, one of the largest in the United States. Examples of special acquisitions made in recent years are current award-winning children's books and back issues of Glasnik from the Narodna biblioteka "Radosav Ljumović" in Podgorica.
In late 2017 the Library of Congress began to differentiate between the Serbian and Montenegrin languages for its newly cataloged publications. For identifying materials of interest before 2017 it is still necessary to search for all of the B/C/M/S (Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian) languages as well Montenegrin.
In addition to this overview-guide of the Montenegrin collections, staff of the Library of Congress have produced several other more detailed guides on Montenegrin resources. They are linked below.